The Taos Pueblo whose multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years has very strict rules about photography. Visitors must register, and pay a fee for, each camera that they wish to use; they must promise not to sell or publish their pictures; and they cannot photograph any Pueblo residents without first asking their permission.
The rules are intended to protect the Pueblo’s privacy and prevent its commercial exploitation, but it also made me think about how needlessly over-documented many of our lives are these days and how our obsessive urge to record all our experiences can prevent us from, well, experiencing them. Of course, it’s nice to have a visual reminder of the people and places we love. But can’t we also be content to let our memories do some of that work?
(The photograph above, by the way, was taken by a commercial stock photographer.)